In warmer climates or warmer months, ordering chocolate online can be tricky!
Here are our recommendations and guidelines to work with the heat.
Chocolate, if tempered properly (long story- if you just want to eat it and don’t want to concern yourself with the chemistry behind it, don’t Google ‘how to temper chocolate’. Moving on!), does not need to be refrigerated, if kept in temperatures below 22C. Chocolate should also always be stored in dry, dark places- especially ours, as humidity can cause the cellulose wrappers to decompose. Not what you want when it still contains chocolate.
Chocolate is fairly safe at whatever temperature– especially ours, because it is vegan and we don’t have to worry about dairy products in it going bad! However, if you get chocolate that has been transported in warmer conditions and has not been kept at proper temperatures, you may find that it has bloomed.
What is blooming?
Well.. whoops, sorry, we lied- guess you do have to learn about tempering!
For chocolate to be in a glossy, fridge-free, form, and have a nice snap to it and smooth mouthfeel, it must be properly tempered. This is done during manufacturing, when the chocolate is heated and cooled to rather precise temperatures over time, with some agitation. Cocoa butter is the fat in chocolate that gives it it’s great mouthfeel, and it is a component of cocoa beans themselves. Cocoa butter is made of crystals that are changed throughout this tempering process- if done correctly, makes sure we get the right kind of crystal structure we want (beta crystals).
But, if the chocolate is heated up too much- even after it is tempered, the crystals will change into an unstable form- the chocolate will bloom. This looks like the chocolate has a grey coating on it- it is still totally safe to eat and delicious! But that grey coating is just the cocoa butter rising to the surface of our chocolate- giving it a grey appearance. This is one version of ‘fat bloom’.
(There is also ‘sugar bloom’, which is where the sugar in the chocolate absorbs moisture from the surrounding area. When the water evaporates, it leaves the sugars to form larger crystals, giving the chocolate a dusty appearance. Moving on.)
So. Because we work so hard to make your chocolate properly tempered, we want to keep it properly tempered during shipping.
If any of the following are an issue, we need to take extra special care while shipping:
We recommend 2-3 days of shipping with cold packs if either of these conditions are at play!
With exceptionally high temperatures, cold packs alone will not do the job. An insulated cooler box (6″x8″x9″, which you can add to your order for $15 on special request) will increase the potency of cooling, but only adds as much as a day. It’s usually better to just be sure to choose a faster shipping option.
If you reeeeeally want your chocolate and it’s hot out, we can get quotes on refrigerated shipping carriers which can be expensive. The best is to select a form of air freight which should have your order to you within 2 days across Canada. Please watch the shipping estimate times listed on the Checkout page, and be sure to choose one that fits this timeframe.
The lowest rate we offer is Canada Post ‘Expedited’. This will suffice for non-remote locations in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
For all other locations (Manitoba and further east from BC, where Zimt is located) Canada Post “Expedited Parcel” results in longer shipping times. Toronto is typically 4 days, Ottawa, at 5-7 days. Montreal is often 5 days, and Newfoundland is 7-9 days, just to offer some examples. These are all too long for refrigerated goods.
In light of this, we kindly request that you choose a higher shipping rate. Generally, “UPS Expedited” is the best and most economical option, followed by Canada Post “Xpresspost” (especially for smaller orders). We regret the extra cost, but it will be much less satisfying when your cheese turns up as a gooey slag! (This is especially the case in November and December, when shipping is at its peak, and delays even more common.)
For USA & International: Please select a ‘top level’ shipping, like UPS Express or Canada Post “Priority”. Anything slower risks delays at Customs, and will likely result in spoilage. We also have to do a fair amount of extra paperwork to get your products over the border as fast as we can! Just so you know- we are trying…
Be mindful of weekends as well; we generally only ship out on Mondays and occasionally on Wednesdays. This is because later days in the week may result in your package being stuck in a warm warehouse over the weekend! Not good. You can place an order after Monday afternoon, but we’ll hold it until the following Monday or Tuesday to ship (unless we are unusually organized one day- then we can ship that same day? No promises.). (If you absolutely must order immediately, please include a note in your order, or email email@example.com and let us know what’s up.)
Ordering Cold Packs
If you’re shipping within 2-3 days, we require that you add a cold pack or two to your parcel! (Preferably 2 cold packs at least! We’ll put one on the top of the packaging and one on the bottom for good measure.) Ice packs are $2 each, and can be ordered here. Even if you just order one chocolate bar, order a cold pack to beat the heat!
Reusing & Recycling Cold Packs
We use biodegradable cold packs. They are non-toxic and made of water and biodegradable polyethalene film that biodegrades into water and carbon dioxide, biomass.
If not mistreated, they can be reused many times – keep them for camping trips, picnics or for icing injuries! They can also be given away, some places like food banks may welcome them.
If you wish to recycle them, simply empty the cold pack down the drain with warm water (if it gets cold, it may clog), and the plastic container is #4 LDPE (low-density polyethylene) and can be recycled anywhere they accept #4 plastics.
Products that Ship Well in the Heat
If you really want some Zimt in your life and don’t want an ice pack, go ahead and order some Salted Vanilla Bean Caramel Macaroons and any type of Drinking Chocolate! They are safe to ship in warm weather without an ice pack.
If you have any suggestions on cold shipping methods (e.g. special reusable coolers or specialty freight companies) which may provide a better service to our customers, please connect with us via email or include a note in your order.
Confused? Just Contact Us!
If you’re not sure about this, don’t worry! Send us an email with your questions: firstname.lastname@example.org – and it’s fine if you leave the site, your cart should be saved for your next visit and you’re ready to process your order.